Audio Spotlight: Broomsticks and Board Games + Character Profiles

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Title: Broomsticks and Board Games

Author: Amy McNulty

Narrator: Danielle Daly

Length: 7 hours 4 minutes

Series: A Spooky Games Club Mystery, Book 1

Publisher: Crimson Fox Publishing

Released: Jan. 5, 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery

 

Dahlia Poplar is a genuine witch, an unofficial gofer, and Luna Lane’s only cursed resident.

With a werewolf best friend, a vampire ex-boyfriend, and a ghost for a hanger-on, Dahlia is far from the most unusual dweller of her sleepy small town, but she’s the only one unable to leave. Dahlia has to perform at least one good deed per day – or she’s one step closer to turning to stone.

Fortunately, the residents of Luna Lane have plenty of tasks for Dahlia to complete to avert the curse until Cable Woodward, fetching professor and nephew of her elderly neighbor, stops by for the semester on sabbatical. Attempting to help Cable’s uncle work through the trauma of losing his wife, Dahlia uncovers the man’s collection of board games, which leads to him reminiscing about the long-forgotten Luna Lane Games Club.

Dahlia reestablishes the Games Club, only to find evidence of a number of horrible demises connected to the original group. While trying to uncover the truth about the deaths, Dahlia has to fight off her curse, protect her elderly neighbor from becoming the next victim, and most vexing of all, keep Cable from figuring out Luna Lane’s supernatural secrets.

Only, with eerie board games like these, there may not be a loser – or even a winner – who survives.

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Dahlia (sometimes “Lia”) Poplar: age 30, 5’8”, long, wavy red hair, sharp eyebrows, hazel-green eyes. Witch partnered with Broomhilde (“Broomie”), an enchanted broomstick that acts like cat. Suffers from a curse inflicted at birth. Every day, while the sun is up, she must complete a good deed without relying on magic. If she fails, she grows a stone scale on her skin. Her left arm is covered in scales, though she usually manages to do her good deed in time—unless she’s distracted. Her mom passed away ten years before; she lives alone.

Cable Woodward: age 32, glasses, dark, wavy short hair, 6’4”, muscular, brown eyes. On sabbatical from teaching American literature in Scotland. Cable spent his childhood traveling the world with his single mother, Ingrid, who had him later in life. Ingrid grew up in Luna Lane and suggests Cable visit her brother during his time off from work. She just doesn’t appear to have clued Cable in to the fact that the supernatural exists—and paranormal creatures call Luna Lane home.

Milton Woodward: age 85, spotted skin, thin, white hair. Milton has dementia, which has worsened since the passing of his wife, Leana, a few months before the story begins. He used to run the general store, Vogel’s, which he sold twenty years before to the Mahajans. Dahlia’s next-door neighbor and Cable’s uncle, though he didn’t see him in person much during Cable’s youth.

Goldie and Arjun Mahajan: age mid-50s, plump, on the shorter side, black and grey hair, Goldie a beauty. They run Vogel’s, the town’s general store, and love to stay busy. Goldie is especially protective of Dahlia and loves to play with Broomie. Both are amateur matchmakers. Their sons, Hitesh and Zashil, Dahlia’s childhood friends, moved to other cities for college and stayed there after finding their spouses.

Draven: age unknown (at least 500), deathly pale complexion, tall and trim but with defined muscles, long, blond hair like a rock star’s. Likes to wear dark leather. Runs the local pub First Taste and lives in an elegant Victorian with Ravana, his sire, and Qarinah, a newer vampire. Dated Dahlia for several years after she turned 21. They had a hot and passionate romance, but his ego and inability to apologize led her to break up with him a few years before the story begins.

Faine Vadas: age 30, wild, brown hair, 5’3”; curvy. Loves to dress in vintage styles, like a pin-up model. Dahlia’s best friend since childhood. Her husband, Grady, is 35, tall and thin. They run the local café, Hungry Like a Pup, which is connected to First Taste. Their kids are Flora (girl, 7, tall), Fauna (girl, 5, short, puffy pigtails), and Falcon (boy, 3, troublemaker). All five of them are werewolves, though they only turn during the full moon.

Virginia Kincaid: died in 1911 at age 20. Ghastly white, often transluscent, dressed like an early 20th-century Southern Belle. She’s a ghost who’s very social and talkative. Easily offended, a gossipmonger, and a flirt, Virginia has a complex about cheaters and will get very angry if she thinks anyone is cheating in even the most harmless of ways.

Sherriff Roan Birch: age late 50s, bald, handsome, wrinkled, with a gut. Dahlia considers Roan like a father since he was always helping her mom out when Dahlia was growing up. Everyone knew Roan harbored an unrequited love for Dahlia’s mother, but he never let that get in the way of an earnest friendship. Since no crime happens in Luna Lane, Roan has a pretty easy job—until Dahlia uncover clues that indicate there’s been a murder.

Eithne Allaway: age unknown, long, white hair, tall and willowy, dark eyes. The mysterious witch who cursed Dahlia at birth, most likely because she hated Dahlia’s witch mother. She’s been gone from Luna Lane for decades, but when things start going wrong, Dahlia suspects the witch’s involvement.

Amy McNulty is an editor and author of books that run the gamut from YA speculative fiction to contemporary romance. A lifelong fiction fanatic, she fangirls over books, anime, manga, comics, movies, games, and TV shows from her home state of Wisconsin. When not editing her clients’ novels, she’s busy fulfilling her dream by crafting fantastical worlds of her own.

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Narrator Bio

Danielle Daly hails from Long Island, New York but hopes you can’t tell that when she’s reading to you. Grateful for her many years of experience in narrating stories for various short story fiction podcasts, the opportunity to narrate audiobooks for a wider audience is a dream come true.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: A Beast So Beautiful + Giveaway

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A Beast So Beautiful
by Carlyle LaBuschagne
Genre: Dark Fantasy

 

A darkness falls over the land when the Queen of Rurith dies.
 
Consumed with grief, King Ivar blames their son, Prince Leif, for her demise, and locks him away in the castle.
 
The Prince is left in total despair, until a girl, with hair the colour of a red sunset and green eyes shows him mercy.
For six years she visits him in secret, giving him hope where none existed before.
 
But Ruith hides many treacherous things that threaten to bring the Kingdom to its knees.
 
Until the Prince and his beastly curse are released.
 
 
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excerpt

Leif stares at him. “Tell me, is his life in danger? Is my father, your king on his death bed?” He shoots them a look. All three men look confused, he was just told his father is well. “If he seems to be restored and will last the night, I see no reason to disturb him at this late hour.”

Barnett opens his mouth to speak, but Leif clears his throat, lifting his head higher, dark hair falling into his eyes. “Barnett, I do not pretend. I do not lie about my feelings and never have. This you know of me. I am an honest man because my kingdom deserves it. My men deserve it. You have all of me, and I will never fake anything just to avoid conflict. I tell you now, I wish not to go to him tonight. You know what awaits us on his awakening. All I have built,” he corrects himself, “what we have built is about to come crashing down as our king takes his place once more. I need time to grieve what is about to be lost.”

Barnett looks as if he wants to say something but stops when Leif’s lips draw back as if he is about to growl. Leif feels the heat behind his eyes threaten his humanity. He looks down quickly, hoping to stop the transformation. Leif’s knuckles turn white as he struggles to draw his beastly-self back.

Barnett nods and spins away. “As you wish, my prince.”

The screeching sound of his threatening talons resonate through the room. He stands back, slamming the door shut and stares ruthlessly at the four claw marks denting the metal door. Turning his back, Leif rests against the cold steel of the door, his eyes taking in the room in which he’d spent most of his life. There are no windows in the tower. The only source of light is the fireplace he and Barnett had built together the first season of his reign, taking stones from the Great Lake in honor of the gods for giving him his power that won them the battle, and in tribute to their men that had died that day. With a sickening feeling, he wonders if the fireplace would be all he’d ever have left to remind him of his time as acting king.

Carlyle is a USA Today Bestselling, international bestselling and international award winning South African author – with a flair and passion for mixing genres, adding loads of drama to every story she creates. Carlyle has traveled the world with her books in hopes of connecting with all kinds of book loving people, to learn as much as she can from other book cultures with the hopes of bringing the knowledge back to her home country.

Her goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another by delivering strong messages of faith, love and hope within every outrageous world she writes about.

Carlyle uses writing as a healing tool, and that is why she has started her very own writers support event – SAIR Book Festival.

Founder of SAIR Book Festival

Co-Founder of Fire Quill Publishing.

Founder of Help build a library in South Africa.

 
 
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Spotlight & Excerpt: Fire and Cinder + Giveaway

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Fire And Cinder
by Christina Bauer
(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum, #6)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 23rd 2021
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Meet the Magicorum: modern folks who are supernaturally locked into fairy tale life templates. For eighteen-year-old Elle, that role is Cinderella. Meanwhile, Agatha is her evil stepsister. Things go downhill from there…

Cinderella On The Run
Elle—never call her Cinderella—has found the love of her life in Alec Le Charme, the prince of a jewelry dynasty. But when Alec gets spirited away, Elle must ditch her Manhattan home for the perilous Faerie Lands. To save Alec, Elle must also swap her glass slippers for a flying carpet. But will switching templates from Cinderella to Aladdin snap Elle’s sanity?

Whatever. Bring on the straight jacket. Elle is one Cinderella who’s determined to save her prince, no matter what.

Evil Stepsister or Elf Queen?
Agatha always accepted her role as Elle’s evil stepsister. Then her life template changes from nasty sibling to evil elf queen. Agatha has one thought on that score. Thanks but no thanks. Agatha refuses the regal life, even though stepping away from her crown means ignoring her lifelong attraction to the elf prince, Jacoby.

Then everything changes. Agatha discovers that Elle’s life is at risk… and the only way to save her Cinderella is by teaming up with Jacoby. Trouble is, that’s a lot of togetherness. Working with Jacoby could easily end in disaster, not only for Agatha’s heart, but also for Elle and Alec’s lives.

Excerpt:

Agatha

I stand before Cynder Mercantile, the place where I grew up. It used to be a brightly-painted storefront that showed off the coolest art stuff in the city. Now it’s nothing but boarded-up windows and faded graffiti.

What a mess.

A few weeks ago, I visited Faerie and discovered my heritage as an elf. Ever since then, I’ve been living in Cynder and looking for some paperwork. With my mother and sister gone, who actually owns this place? Me, Elle, someone else? I’m on a mission to discover the truth.

Today I finally found a records room. I could check through everything right away, but the place is dark and filled with cockroaches.

At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So instead of going through old papers, I’m off on a walk to get some coffee. Stepping away from the ruined storefront, I turn down the deserted street.

That’s when I feel it. Someone is watching me.

Chances are, it’s Jacoby. He’s an elf prince and my personal nemesis. Also, his regular attempts at conversation are the highlight of my day.
I know. Complicated.

“Jacoby, is that you?” I try hard to make my voice sound irritated, but I don’t do such a great job. It’s lonely sitting in Cynder Mercantile, surrounded by dust bunnies and memories. If Jacoby didn’t invite himself along to my nightly coffee runs, I wouldn’t have any human interaction. Sure, all I do is tell him to go away, but it’s still the highlight of my day.

Did I mention our non-relationship is complicated? It is.

Jacoby steps out from a nearby alley. He’s unnaturally handsome with his broad shoulders, aristocratic cheekbones and cute swoop of black hair. Guess that goes along with being elf royalty. You always look camera ready.

The prince leans against the building’s facade and kicks his right ankle across his left. “You really need to stop following me,” he declares. “It’s rather embarrassing.”

“I’m stalking you?” I try to look offended. Not sure I’m doing such a great job.
“It’s all right.” Jacoby gives me the dazzling kind of smile only the elves can pull off. “I forgive you. You can even buy me a coffee.”

 

Save Across the Series

Fairy Tales of the Magicorum
Modern fairy tales with sass, action, and romance
1. Wolves and Roses
2. Moonlight and Midtown
3. Shifters and Glyphs
4. Slippers and Thieves
5. Bandits and Ball Gowns
6. Fire and Cinder
7. Fairies and Frosting

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Author Bio:

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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